Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 39
  2. Negative: 2 out of 39
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  1. Under Eastwood's painstakingly stripped-down direction -- his filmmaking has become the cinematic equivalent of Hemingway's spare though precise prose -- the story emerges as that rarest of birds, an uplifting tragedy.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Staying at the top of his game when most of his contemporaries have long since hung up their gloves, Clint Eastwood delivers another knockout punch with Million Dollar Baby.
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Eastwood takes the audience to raw, profoundly moving places. If you fear strong emotions, this is not for you. But if you want to see Hollywood filmmaking at its most potent, Eastwood has delivered the real deal.
  4. 100
    Has a beautifully modulated sadness that's almost musical. Eastwood once made a movie about Charlie Parker ("Bird"), but this picture has the smoothly melancholic tones of Coleman Hawkins at his greatest.
  5. Achieves a mellowness and melancholy that recalls the jazzy dissonance of director (and here, composer) Eastwood's best work: "The Outlaw Josey Wales," "Bird," "Unforgiven" and "Mystic River."
  6. 100
    Perhaps the director's most touching, most elegiac work yet, Million Dollar Baby is a film that does both the expected and the unexpected, that has the nerve and the will to be as pitiless as it is sentimental.
  7. 100
    With its careful, unassuming naturalism, its visual thrift and its emotional directness, Million Dollar Baby feels at once contemporary and classical, a work of utter mastery that at the same time has nothing in particular to prove.
  8. 100
    A spare, exquisitely realized masterpiece about faith, redemption and boxing that beautifully illustrates his longtime philosophy that "less is more."
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    As good as "Unforgiven." Or, to put it another way, as good as any movie Eastwood has ever directed.
  10. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    A remarkably appealing success story full of heart and humor and poignancy, with Swank as winning as she’s ever been.
  11. 100
    A masterpiece, pure and simple, deep and true...The best film of the year.
  12. It's an ideal match, and Eastwood deserves accolades as both director and star of this powerfully made picture.
  13. Haggis's dialogue is worthy of Hemingway, and the three leads border on perfection.
  14. Ages well in memory because it gradually seems to mean more. Its meaning can't be summed up in a sentence, but it has to do with a view of life as inexpressibly sad and yet always right.
  15. 100
    One of the many pleasures of this beautifully composed, measured movie is how it reminds you of the power of pure storytelling -- an art that's too often overlooked in contemporary films in the rush for sensation and excitement.
  16. This heartbreaking film, with its rich performances and simple eloquence, lays claim to greatness.
  17. It's an emotionally gripping, daringly genre-twisting, consummately crafted piece of filmmaking.
  18. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    More than "Unforgiven," more than "Mystic River," it is Clint Eastwood's autumnal masterpiece.
  19. 100
    Unlike other filmmakers in the autumn or winter of their careers, Eastwood doesn't seem content to rest on his laurels and give his audiences the tried and the true. For that reason, among many others, he and Million Dollar Baby are true champions.
  20. Reveals the drama and degredation so powerfully that it ranks among the all-time heavyweights of sports movies.
  21. 100
    A truly powerful, masterful work.
  22. 100
    Eastwood tells the story at a pace well under the Hollywood speed limit, tosses in details so beguiling they seem about to sprout into motion pictures of their own and bathes his subjects in shadows as lovely as those in any Rembrandt.
  23. A movie of tough excitement and surprise, even grace.
  24. 90
    Baby may not be quite as compelling as Mystic River or Unforgiven, but there's something so stirring, and disquieting, too, in his quest that we cannot help but pay close attention to him. In the middle of his long career's third act, he's still searching for the secrets in things with striking resolve. You certainly can't ask more than that of any 75-year-old ex-gunslinger.
  25. So wonderfully antiquated, so blissfully free of postmodern cleverness.
  26. 90
    The heart of Million Dollar Baby lies in the core relationships among Frankie, Maggie and Scrap, friendships so pure, so genuine, so authentic that it takes actors of Eastwood's, Swank's and Freeman's caliber to sell them in this otherwise cynical world.
  27. 88
    The knockout punch comes from Eastwood. His stripped-down performance -- as powerful as anything he's ever done -- has a rugged, haunting beauty. The same goes for the movie.
  28. 88
    It is a rich and challenging motion picture that both affirms life and emphasizes its fragility. Eastwood touches our hearts and energizes our minds without resorting to overt manipulation.
  29. Million Dollar Baby is a knockout. It is Clint Eastwood's baby in every respect — a movie that approaches the level of great boxing films, like "Raging Bull," by using sport as a metaphor for human nature.
  30. All the same, Eastwood's point of view has been seasoned enough to locate poignancy and respect for his protagonists where you least expect -- saying it's an old man's movie is a serious compliment.
  31. 80
    Though conventional in many respects, it feels like no other boxing film ever made, due largely to Eastwood's unmistakable presence on both sides of the camera.
  32. Reviewed by: Colin Kennedy
    To steal from Ali, this one floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.
  33. With his trademark spare, unfussy direction and jumping into the story approach, Eastwood subtly establishes the themes of faith, loss and love and then he raises the drama to a different level.
  34. 70
    Eastwood's slow-building story of loss and deliverance is a fine, understated piece of storytelling that earns every emotional body blow it lands.
  35. It is thoughtful, unfashionable, measured, mostly honest, sometimes clumsy or remote, often exciting, occasionally moving and eventually surprising. It's correct.
  36. If we can watch this picture at all, it is because this universally admired person (Eastwood) is in it.
  37. 50
    In a boxing soap-opera way, Eastwood is trying to do for himself as a performer what Sergio Leone did for him in a spaghetti-western way: douse his rough-hewn banality with reflected emotional coloration.
  38. 20
    A compendium of every cliché from every bad boxing melodrama ever made, Million Dollar Baby tries to transcend its cornball overfamiliarity with the qualities that have long characterized Eastwood's direction -- it's solemn, inflated and dull.
  39. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    It's impressive, in the sense that a sucker-punch impresses itself on your skull.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 607 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 46 out of 311
  1. Oct 1, 2011
    Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" illustrates Hilary swank (Beast performance) as a under-seen boxer emerging to her fame and ultimately,Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" illustrates Hilary swank (Beast performance) as a under-seen boxer emerging to her fame and ultimately, to her downfall. As expected from Clint Eastwood, the film is filmed and written richly and immensely. It certainly is one of the year's best. Full Review »
  2. Aug 2, 2013
    Million dollar baby is a story about a female boxer who decides in her early 30's to star boxing.She goes to a gym to exercise and there sheMillion dollar baby is a story about a female boxer who decides in her early 30's to star boxing.She goes to a gym to exercise and there she finds a coach. Million times if you see that film a tear will come out from your eye. A depressive sport movie that it is really touching and it shows friendship and love. Million dollar baby also shows how difficult is for a person that loves you to decide whether you are going to live or die. Hillary Swank was amazing in that movie. I don't know how she did that. I actually thought that i was feeling what she was feeling. I don't understand the negative reviews and I don't want to spend any time telling my opinion for them and i simply understand that some people don't have a heart. That's all I have to say for that masterpiece. Full Review »
  3. Jan 5, 2013
    Strong and Powerful! A touching story proved with sweat and pain, and the same time - with beauty and grace of boxing goddess! ThisStrong and Powerful! A touching story proved with sweat and pain, and the same time - with beauty and grace of boxing goddess! This sport-drama is one which surely leaves a warm spark into our hearts! Full Review »